Labour tells private schools to ‘make cuts’ as VAT raid looms

Private schools must make cuts to cope with Labour’s planned VAT raid as the state sector was forced to by the Conservatives, Rachel Reeves has said.

Labour plans to impose 20 per cent VAT on private school fees if it wins the general election, with Sir Keir Starmer pledging to roll out the policy “straight away”.

It has prompted a backlash from private school headteachers and parents, who are warning that it could lead to an exodus of pupils to the state sector and force the closure of some private institutions.

Asked about concerns over the VAT raid by The Telegraph on Sunday, Ms Reeves dismissed them, saying: “I’m sure that private schools can make efficiencies in the same way that state schools have been making efficiencies this last decade or so.”

Her comments were criticised by independent schools and Tory MPs, with Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, describing Labour’s policy as the “politics of envy”.

She said: “Keir Starmer has admitted that Labour’s flagship education ‘pledge’ is entirely unfunded and Rachel Reeves still needs to ‘find the money’ to pay for the thousands of additional state school places that the policy will need.

“Ultimately, this is more proof that Keir Starmer hasn’t changed Labour as much as he likes to claim he has. This is the same old Labour Party, they have taken pupils backwards in Wales and are now exercising the politics of envy, with unfunded policies that will punish hard-working parents who can no longer send their children to their school of choice.

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